Colombia enshrines neonatal screening in new law



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Some 600,000 babies born every year in Colombia will benefit from the country's new Neonatal Screening Law, which was signed this month by the President of the Republic, Iván Duke Márquez.

The law provides a framework for the priority application of screening in state and private hospitals to detect sight, hearing, thyroid, and congenital heart defects.

"It is infinite what paediatrics can do to detect and prevent early illness in all of Colombia's newborn," underlined the country's deputy minister of public health, Iván Darío González Ortiz. The aim is to provide basic visual and hearing screening for all babies, but with special focus on developing screening to include thyroid problems and heart malformations "because these are the leading two causes of mortality, and the leading cause of cognitive diseases," said González Ortiz.

The estimated cost to the Colombian government of implementing the policy is approximately US$115m (400,000,000,000 pesos)

Source: BBC/RTVC